Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Eating meat will be A-ok for Catholics on St. Patty's Day, but there is a caveat

Meatless Friday for Catholics in Lent called off for St. Patrick's Day

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Dan Stein, owner of Stein's Market & Deli in the Lower Garden District, serves up corned beef in this Friday, May 18, 2007 photo. (Matt Rose, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune archives)
Kim Chatelain, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune By Kim Chatelain, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune The Times-Picayune 

on March 14, 2017 
About once every decade or so, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday during Lent, as it does in 2017. In such years, devoted Roman Catholics are faced with a March 17th conundrum: The Lenten rule requiring them to abstain from meat on Fridays collides with the ancient practice of eating corned beef and cabbage in honor of the Irish patron saint who ministered Christianity in the 5th century.
What's a good Catholic to do? Relax, says New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond. Along with numerous other bishops in the United States, Aymond has granted dispensation to local Catholics who want to indulge in the salty, stringy red meat this Friday and maintain their Lenten commitment.
In a statement sent out to priests in the archdiocese, Aymond decreed: "If a Catholic residing in the Archdiocese of New Orleans wishes to participate in St. Patrick's Day activities and desires to eat meat, they may be dispensed and choose another day of the week for abstinence or may choose to perform an act of penance that is a greater sacrifice."
Aymond's position is similar to other bishops who have waived the no-meat-on-Fridays rule this week. As of March 9, more than 80 of the United States' 195 Catholic dioceses granted some form of dispensation on St. Patrick's Day, according to the Catholic News Agency. Among them are those in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and the U.S. military services, the news agency reported. As of last week, only the Archdiocese of Denver and the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., had publicly announced they will not be granting any dispensations for the day.
In many cases, bishops have requested that Catholics offer up some alternative penance or perform a special act of charity in lieu of their abstinence from meat. Some dioceses have additional stipulations; Omaha, Neb., Archbishop George Lucas, for instance, said local Catholics who eat meat on St. Patrick's Day must abstain the next day, March 18.
St. Patrick's Day last fell on a Friday in Lent in 2006. That year, about half of the country's Roman Catholic dioceses granted some form of dispensation.
In 2000, when St. Patrick's Day also fell on a Friday, a local Irish Catholic fraternal organization asked then-Archbishop Francis Schulte to waive the meatless Friday rule so that its banquet could include corned beef. Schulte declined.
So members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians served their penance -- by switching the banquet menu to blackened red snapper and crab cakes.

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